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Central Region

central-minnesota-mapCentral Minnesota is a manufacturing stronghold, with several global manufacturing firms operating there.

The region is especially well known for its expertise in food processing, printing, furniture manufacturing, appliances, machinery and heavy equipment manufacturing.

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New Americans: Central Minnesota’s Immigrant Population

5/17/2022 9:00:00 AM

Luke Greiner

More than 27,000 immigrants live in Central Minnesota, accounting for roughly 3.7% of the entire population. This is a substantially smaller share than statewide where 8.2% of the population is foreign-born. Fortunately, Central Minnesota is still experiencing population growth through natural increases (more births than deaths), positive domestic in-migration, and positive net international migration. All of these components boost the population in the region and provide positive labor force growth.

Table 1. Place of Birth for the Foreign Born Population, 2020 Central Minnesota Change from 2010-2020 Minnesota Change from 2010-2020
Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
Total, Foreign-born Population 27,176 3.7% 9,278 51.8% 470,687 8.2% 28.3%
Europe 2,681 9.9% -265 -9.0% 45,867 9.7% 1.9%
Asia 6,618 24.4% 1,537 30.2% 174,828 37.1% 28.5%
Africa 9,248 34.0% 6,872 289.2% 125,135 26.6% 78.2%
Oceania 52 0.2% -17 -24.6% 1,846 0.4% 15.4%
Americas 8,577 31.6% 1,151 15.5% 123,011 26.1% 7.8%
Americas: - Latin America 7,481 87.2% 904 13.7% 111,190 90.4% 9.6%
Americas: - Northern America 1,096 12.8% 247 29.1% 11,821 9.6% -6.3%
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2016-2020 American Community Survey

While immigrants help boost the region's population, the immigrant population in Central Minnesota is unique compared to Minnesota as a whole, with a far smaller share from Asia and a larger share from both Africa and Latin America. The share of immigrants from Europe is roughly the same as the rate found statewide, representing one-in-ten immigrants in the region (see Table 1).

Central Minnesota's immigrant population has different skill levels compared to the domestic population as measured by formal education and English proficiency. Just 7.3% of the region's total population aged 25 and older has not attained a high school diploma, compared to 29% of immigrants who are 25 years or older. A high school diploma/GED is necessary for most jobs, including many entry level openings. Another important employment skill is mastering the English language. In Central Minnesota, 19% of immigrants do not speak English well or at all. Both the lack of a high school diploma and the inability to speak English is a barrier to many employment opportunities.

Immigrant Educational Attainment

Immigrants come to Central Minnesota from all over the world with different skills, languages and cultures and they are embraced by many employers. However, immigrants without a high school diploma or English proficiency may find the doors closed to even entry-level employment opportunities. Fortunately, Leading CareerForce partners Career Solutions and Central Minnesota Jobs and Training Services provide excellent programs that can help immigrants in Central Minnesota attain these crucial skills and find a promising career path.

For More Information

Contact Luke Greiner at 320-308-5378.

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